On September 18th I posted a rendition of “Lead Kindly Light”, sung by Aled Jones. This poem written by John Henry Cardinal Newman is truly beautiful and speaks heart to heart. There is one part of the poem that keeps coming to my thoughts and I believe it speaks both to the dynamic of discipleship and also discernment. It is this:
Keep thou my feet, I do not ask to see
the distant scene, one step enough for me.
There is a double humility called for in the life of discipleship. This “double humility” finds expression in today’s gospel reading: Luke 9:18-22.
Once when Jesus was praying in solitude, and the disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Christ of God.” He rebuked them and directed them not to tell this to anyone.
He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
The double humility is first; acknowledging Christ as Messiah, as Lord of ones life and second; allowing Christ to be God for us according to his terms and not our own. This second humility is more difficult for us than the first but it must be entered into and accepted because it is the true path of discipleship.
Newman’s “one step enough for me” expresses the beauty of this double humility. One step is enough. We do not have to see the distant scene. The Kingdom of God is coming; we just have to do our part and we have to trust – God will see it through.
Discernment, along with all of discipleship, is also a matter of trusting and the willingness to take one step, the next step. We do not have to have it all figured out (in fact we never will); we do not have to see the distant scene, we just need to take the next step – God will see us through.
Lead Kindly Light.